San Francisco, CA
178 TOWNSEND ST
In our review of Saison last year we said the following: “Based on the scuttlebutt that we hear from within the dining community, if you were to ask us to name the chefs who stand a good chance of running the number one restaurant in our survey one day, Joshua Skenes would be among the names on a very short list.” Given that the restaurant shot up our list, all the way from number 24 to the number 5 restaurant in the country, we feel comfortable saying that our prediction is coming true. Intent on “redefining the concept of a fancy meal,” Skenes does things like serving aged fish, and offering a service of ducks that have been dry-aged for 32 and 70 days. Skenes also pushes the envelope in the way he uses the wood-burning grill on the restaurant’s patio. Rather than cook on a grate, Skenes might place ingredients directly in the ash or set them right next to a pile of flaming logs. Editor’s note: Skenes has moved Saison into shiny new quarters in San Francisco’s SoMa district; he also serves a more casual menu in the restaurant’s lounge.